The American Civil War

 What were the comparative strengths of the North and South at the outbreak of the Civil War? Give complete and accurate historical details.
use the book “For the Common Defense, A Military History of the United States from 1607 to 2012. 3rd edition”


The American Civil War, happened in the United States between 1861 to 1865. Notably, the war pitted the Northern states loyal to the union against the Southern states that had seceded to form the Confederate States of America. The war ended with the victory of the North, preserving the United States as one nation and also ended the institution of slavery. Notably, the North was led by President Abraham Lincoln while the South was led by Confederate president Jefferson Davis. 

The attack on Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861 triggered the outbreak of the American Civil War between the North (the Union) and the South (the Confederate States of America). The North had a population of twenty-two million people compared to the South’s nine million. Secondly, the North had great wealth and was technologically advanced compared to the South. Notably, ninety percent of America’s manufacturing and banks were all in the North. Additionally, the North was geographically advantaged since it had more productive lands than the South, which provided food for fighting troops. The North also produced most of the country’s copper, iron, coal, and gold, which they used to manufacture large scale weaponry for the war. By 1860 the North manufactured ninety-seven percent of the firearms, ninety-four percent of cloth, and approximately ninety percent of boots and shoes (Millet and William). The North also controlled the seas and had an expansive twenty-one thousand miles of railroad track that made it easy for transportation of troops and supplies. 

On the other hand, while the North struggled to get good military leadership, the South had an outstanding and efficient military leadership. Notably, the best American military personnel originated from the South, and they chose to fight for the Confederacy. For instance, one of the greatest military men of the time, Colonel Robert Lee, was a Southerner who resigned from the US Army to join the Confederate forces. Further, seven of the eight military colleges in the nation were all in the South, which gave them a military advantage in the numbers (Millet and William). The South’s knowledge of its geography also gave it an advantage over the North since most battles were fought in the South. Conquering it would take the North a lot of time, and the South was determined to defend its borders until the North got weary of the war.

By the spring of 1865, the all the principal Confederate armies had surrendered to the Unionists. Consequently, on May 10, 1865 in Georgia, the Union captured Confederate President Jefferson Davis who while he attempted to escape. The capture of Davis quashed the resistance and the war ended with the North’s victory. The union known as the United States of America got preserved and the institution of slavery got abolished. 


Works Cited

Millet, Allan R., Peter Maslowski, and William B. Feis. “For the Common Defense: A Military History of the United States from 1607 to 2012.” New York: Free Press 277 (2012): 681.